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I am a moderately active 35 y.o. Three days per week I go directly to an intensive cardio class right after work and get home at 10pm, famished because I don't have time to eat before.

I thought of downing a whey protein drink right as I leave the office as a way to fill up.

I'm not necessarily looking to bulk up -- but just keep fit and avoid eating late at night.

Is this a good idea? What sort of whey protein should I go for? The Internet has loads of suggestions but I trust this community more.

Thanks

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    Be sure to throw together some honey into your shake. You probably need carbohydrates between leaving the office and your cardio class, more than protein (a light, whole wheat sandwich is not a bad idea either). As for whey, I have found casein more useful at my age (42). It is supposed to release a more steady supply of amino-acids during hours. – Mephisto Jun 27 '15 at 22:52
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    I used to have a sign in my kitchen that said "Go to sleep hungry or wake up fat." That might sound extreme, but we're not supposed to be sated all the time. Just some food for thought, pardon the pun. – Eric Jun 28 '15 at 1:40
  • @EricKaufman so you suggest just not eating/drinking anything before workout? Actually that's what I've been doing so far... But I suffer for it. – Teusz Jun 28 '15 at 5:57
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    Depends what your goals are. Whey and water is pretty low calorie considering the protein. But don't let your cardio be an excuse to pig out. – Eric Jun 28 '15 at 6:04
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    I don't think an intensive cardio class on an empty stomach at the end of the day is a good idea at all. You might be now underperforming, taking away much of the fun of that class, and creating the conditions for a later night craving that may impair your sleep or make you gain fat in the long term. At least drink a fruit juice at the beginning of the cardio class. Or take with you a light sandwich when you depart from home each morning and eat it on the way to the gym. Two slices of whole corn bread and some cheese for instance. It takes 5 min to prepare it at home, and occupies little room. – Mephisto Jun 28 '15 at 15:34
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Is this a good idea? What sort of whey protein should I go for? The Internet has loads of suggestions but I trust this community more.

No this is an awful idea. First off Whey Protein is fast digesting so is only really beneficial after a muscle building workout. You need fats and/or carbs before doing cardio.

You'd be better served making a simple shake out of bananas and milk or juice to get the potassium spike and carbs in before working out. For protein you could blend Greek Yogurt, Eggs, or Cottage Cheese into the shake. Much better calories and nutrient profile for you before a cardio workout.

If you do insist on or need ADDITIONAL (hence the word supplement not replacement) protein then for powder you're better off getting a Casein or mixed blend. These will digest slower than a Whey Isolate.

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  • Just to add to the answer, I'd say avoid milk if possible. Drinking milk prior to intense treadmill or other cardiovascular work isn't the best idea. From experience, it causes severe stomach pain. – Paul Witry Jun 30 '15 at 4:48
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    Thanks for the perspective. I didn't know it was so stupid. So you'd suggest having the whey shake AFTER the workout? It's not just cardio, also boxing. – Teusz Jun 30 '15 at 13:02
  • @Teusz yes the whole point of Whey is that its fast acting so right after your workout when your body needs it the most is when you take it. BUT my suggestion is to have something else before that isn't fast digesting. – Ryan Jun 30 '15 at 13:06
  • @Ryan ok, will do a salad 90 min before and a whey shake after (too late to eat dinner, ending at 9:30pm). Reasonable? – Teusz Jun 30 '15 at 14:17
  • @Teusz I have no idea what's reasonable. That is a completely different question depending on your goals. If the Salad and Whey Shake are going to provide the nutrients you need for your goals then its reasonable. If not then change. – Ryan Jun 30 '15 at 14:19
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I do not think it's a good idea.

Higher than normal levels of protein intake is useful if you are looking to add muscle, your cardio class will have very little muscle building impact, also, some carbs and fats will be more useful for performance in your cardio class.

If you still want to take whey supplements, go for the cheapest that taste, there are lots of brands with fancy names, but whey is in itself a very simple product, so no need to spend extra money on it.

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